12:06 a.m January 1, the sound of explosions rouse us from a fitful sleep. The sky is on fire. Chet is happy to take my word for it and turns over. Ever curious, I wander outside. From our 3rd floor patio I look out on the most incredible scene of my 53 years, (ha! now you know how old I am! No biggie, right?). From every window in the apartment there is the sound and sight of hundreds (no exaggeration) of exploding Roman Candles, Shells, Fountains and Repeaters over the city. The streets are lit up with firecrackers, sparklers and the burning of dummies that represent prominent people in the belief that they bring good luck for the New Year. These dummies are prominently displayed for sale along the streets as the last day of the old year progresses. Young boys in drag stand in the streets and pressure passing cars to stop and give them money. Our normally quiet street is a carnival, people dancing with masks and dressed in all manner of outlandish costumes. Halloween is no big deal here, but this pageantry exceeds that holiday in the States. We had our meeting tonight, they used to cancel it because of the hullabaloo but not anymore. I’m glad, although we had light attendance. A lot of the friends stayed home to escape the foolishness I’m guessing. Next year we will think about taking a vacation from the city.
I wanted to address a lot of the emails I’ve gotten asking for advice about life here in Ecuador and making the transition. We have been surprised and delighted and truly honored that so many friends are reading the meanderings of my wandering mind and are seeking to “step over into Macedonia”. Whether that is here or elsewhere. Questions regarding flushing toilet paper, bringing a pet, where certain congregations are, appropriate footwear, cost of living, etc. etc. are all valid and important questions. Unfortunately we are not able to answer them all. Our lives are busier than ever before and I am sure you understand our inability to get back to individual emails. With that being said, we will respond to 1 kind of email, if you need an attorney for a cedula, we have an excellent reference for a brother and sister here in Cuenca.
Otherwise, you may want to check out these resources:
2. Gringo Tree
3. Gringos Abroad (written by Witnesses for everyone)
4. jw.org (for meeting locations and times including sign language)
5. Cuenca Highlife
all of the above are blogs/websites that offer a wealth of up-to-date information, plus you can post questions with the exception of jw.org of course!
6. Living and Retiring in Cuenca, Ecuador, 101 Questions Answered-this is a book you can download for about $2.99 from Amazon.com it was very helpful to us at the beginning.
7. Go to spy out the land. Our coming here for 3 weeks before we decided to move was invaluable. We heard about rents through word of mouth and actually did not wind up looking for an apartment, it came to us. That won’t be everyone’s experience but talking to friends and taking the time to temporarily experience the life you will have goes a long way in “counting the cost” of your move on all levels.
Hope this helps and now I’m going to take a much needed siesta! Hasta Luego!